What's the story?
Indian hockey team's premier drag-flicker, Rupinder Pal Singh, has revealed that he went into depression after India lost the semifinal match against Malaysia in the hockey event at Asian Games 2018. He also reflected on the team's wins against The Netherlands in the Pro League.
After Malaysia defeated India in the penalty shootout, Rupinder Pal Singh lost his place in the Indian team. He opened up about the darkest phase of his life while talking to TOI on Friday (24th January).
The heart of the matter
The 29-year-old recalled the most difficult time of his hockey career and said,
"I went into depression after I was dropped from the team following the debacle in 2018 Asian Games. It was the darkest phase of my life. I even thought of quitting the game. It was like the only thing you have done your entire life was suddenly snatched away from you."
The Faridkot-born player mentioned that his family, especially his father, motivated him to work hard on his game. He soon made a comeback to the Indian team, who punched their ticket to Tokyo Olympics 2020 with a winning performance against Russia. He continued:
"Thanks to my family. They kept me motivated. My father reminded me why I started playing hockey. It was my dream to play for India. But I did not have any self-esteem left, so another comeback was looking an uphill task. But my family remained committed no matter what. They made me believe in my capabilities and slowly but steadily I started practicing. And, once I started enjoying the sound of the ball hitting the back of the net in the practice sessions, I said to myself, let's give it another go."
Speaking about India's recent victories over the Dutch in the Men's Pro League, Rupinder added:
"The second victory was the most satisfying. In that match we as a team showed our character. We came back after trailing 1-3. The way we played in the last two quarters was heartening. We have defeated a third ranked team and it will only give us more confidence in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics."
With the Tokyo Olympics just five months away, it will be interesting to see how Rupinder Pal Singh and co. perform on the road to the Olympics.